The Annapurna Circuit Trekking Aleshventure: Over the Thorung La pass

The Annapurna Circuit Trekking Aleshventure: Over the Thorung La pass

In this post I’m going to continue telling my hiking adventure story starting day 10. The day after I had hiked to Tilicho Lake and back. If you haven’t read the beginning of my story, go ahead and click here: THE ANNAPURNA CIRCUIT TREKKING ALESHVENTURE: UP TO THE TILICHO LAKE.

Day 10

Shreekarka (4.075 m) – Yak Kharka (4.050 m): 10 km

Net hiking time: 2 hours 40 minutes / A break of 1 hour

It was the day when I returned to the main circuit. Fortunately, there is a connecting trail so one doesn’t have to go down to Manang. I was happy to hike only a short distance after the demanding hike previous day. It was relaxing to hike on a flat terrain or downhill. Hiking uphill was a pain. It was just a three hour hike and so I had all afternoon to relax.

The highest point of the trek was a viewpoint where I was lucky to get a glimpse of Annapurna III. Otherwise all the peaks were in clouds. I could also see Manang.

Food price Accommodation
Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner Price Name
460 590 865 610 100 Gangapurna Hotel

Extra charges: shower – 200, charging – 100 /All prices are in rupees: 100 NPR is roughly 1 USD


Looking back at an abandoned village I hiked through
The nicest view of the day. Annapurna III could be seen for a little while.
The Manang village in the distance
Gangapurna hotel – one of the best rooms I stayed in

Day 11

Hike: Yak Kharka (4.050 m) – Thorung Pedi base camp (4.540 m): 7 km

Net hiking time: 2 hours / A break of 50 minutes

Another short hiking day which was good before the hardest hiking day to come. I hiked more slowly than normally. I had all afternoon to relax again. The weather wasn’t nice at all. It was raining for the most part of the day except morning while I was hiking.

In the afternoon I witnessed an evacuation of a girl who had got terribly sick (altitude sickness) and suffered hypothermia. She was evacuated by a helicopter. She was very lucky because helicopters normally don’t fly in the weather like there was that day. One has to be very careful because altitude sickness can be fatal.

Food price Accommodation
Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner Price Name
360 700 1380 1200 0 Thorong Base Camp Lodge

Day 12

Hike: Thorung Pedi Base Camp (4.540 m) – Thorung High Camp (4.880 m) – Thorung La Pass (5.416 m) – Muktinath (3.700 m): 14 km

Net hiking time up: 5 hours 5 minutes / Breaks totalling 1 hour 40 minutes

Ascent: 3 hours 5 minutes [5 km] / Breaks totalling 50 minutes / A break of 40 minutes at the top / Descent 2 hours [9 km] / A break of 10 minutes

‘I made it. The highest point of the trek. The Thorung La pass! NO GUIDE! NO PORTER! NO HIKING BUDDY! NO ALTITUDE SICKNESS! Just me relying on my physical strength and mental power! I have never been higher!’ Those were my thoughts that day.

It was the toughest day of the hike. And probably one of the hardest hiking days ever.

It had been raining almost all previous day. I had been worried about what the weather would be like. When I went outside at night I could see the stars and got excited the weather had finally improved. But when I got up at 4 AM it was cloudy again.

I set off at 4.45. It was still dark so I needed to use a headlight. In addition, it was snowing. Just light snow but still. Luckily it stopped very quickly. The first section of the hike, from the base camp to the high camp was hard. I could have hiked up the day before but I went with the advice: ‘Hike high, sleep low.’ My legs were kind of shaky and I had some doubts I could make it. But I pushed myself.

Once I had reached the high camp which was just 1.3 km away but approximately 350 meters higher I had a break. The second section (to a teahouse along the way) was easier. I was more confident I could make it and hiking at daylight was more enjoyable. The third section was again tough. I was already over 5.000 m asl and breathing was hard also considering it was rather cold. I had to take quite a few breaks before I reached the top.

When I reached I was ecstatic. Even though the weather sucked I was super happy I had made it. I felt accomplished. After all, it’s one the toughest hikes I have done. Another Aleshventure made happen.

Hiking down was pretty much a piece of cake although I had to descend 1.700 m on altitude. I was washed out. I was happy. I was proud.

Food price Accommodation
Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner Price Name
450 1040 770 730 0 Hotel The Path of Dreams
Thorung La High Camp shortly after 6 am
The scenery close to the pass was again different
The snow made the scenery more beautiful
A little bit of blue sky which didn’t last long
I made it. I felt ecstatic. The highest altitude ever.
I could see the mountains while hiking down

Day 13

Hike: Muktinath (3.700 m) – Jomsom (2.740 m) – Marpha (2.700 m): 28 km

Net hiking time: 6 hours 50 minutes / Breaks totalling 2 hrs

When I started hiking 13 days before I wanted to do the whole circuit. But after the hard hiking day when I had made it over the pass I started to have second thoughts.

When I woke up I didn’t feel like hiking. But I overcame the feeling and set off shortly after 7 AM saying to myself I’d see how it would go.  It was the foggiest morning since I started. The weather only started changing once I had reached another valley.

Muktinath is a fairly large village and a lot of trekkers finish the trek there. They make it over the pass and so they are done. Muktinath can be accessed by a dirt road and you can take a bus or jeep and leave for Pokhara or Kathmandu. Alternatively, you can fly from the nearby Jomsom. Very few people continue hiking past Muktinath or Jomsom. I did.

Perhaps half an hour into my hike I met a German hiker and we ended up hiking together almost all the way. We only parted ways a few kilometers before reaching Marpha because we wanted to continue along different trails.

The dirt (jeep) road used to be the main trail back in the day. You can still hike along the original trail but it’s rather unpleasant due to heavy traffic. Fortunately, there is now a new trail. The first part of the hike passes the village of Lubra and it’s really nice. Except it was foggy and we didn’t get to see the views until we started going down. The nice hike finishes when the trail merges with the dirt road. We hiked 4 kilometers along the road to Jomsom and it was the worst section in 13 days. Dozen of jeeps, cars and busses passed by lifting the sand and the strong wind carried it towards us. I had sand everywhere, my mouth included. From Jomsom you can go on hiking along a proper trail again. I appreciated it. 4 kilometers along the dirt road were enough. But sadly, I would have to hike on the road again in the coming days.

There was construction on the trail and it was a bit more difficult to pass. The way I see it they were destroying the trail.

This valley is very different from the valley on the other side of the pass. The landscape looks more like a desert. It’s dry. It’s extremely windy. And more populated and better connected with other places in Nepal.

Food price Accommodation
Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner Price Name
450 750 80 680 300 Paradise Guesthouse
The life in Muktinath in the early morning
Hiking to Lubra. The landscape in the other valley was very different.
Hiking up and down, passing villages, crossing almost dry river beds
The views from the proper hiking trail were stunning
The village of Marpha from the distance

Day 14

Hike: Marpha (2.700 m) – Sauru – Kokhethanti – Ghasa (2.000 m): 30.5 km

Net hiking time: 6 hours / Breaks totalling 1 hour 40 minutes

I spent the night in the Marpha village. It’s a picturesque village full of stone houses. It’s amazing how people live up there.

The first part of the hike from Marpha to the town of Kalopani was very nice. The trail followed the river and I really liked hiking in the pine forests.

After I passed the village I hiked along the dirt road which I didn’t enjoy at all. I couldn’t locate the trailhead in the direction of Ghasa. Even when I used an electronic map and searched for the trail I couldn’t find it because of landslides and road works. There were no signs. Interestingly, there were signs when the trail merged with the dirt road. It didn’t seem to be in a good condition. I had read it was not recommended to follow the trail from June till September. There was supposedly a second trail on the other side of the river but I was told it was even more damaged. That was actually the one I tried to hike along but the locals sent me back to the dirt road.

The bridges were either damaged or non-existent. And it was not just caused by nature. I believe the landslides are the result of the road construction. And based on what I saw there would be more damage. I think it used to be a beautiful valley back in the day but the road construction changed it for the worse.

Hiking on the road was not fun. It was very muddy with jeeps and buses passing me by so it was a real pity I couldn’t hike along the proper trail which was also damaged by road works.

Food price Accommodation
Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner Price Name
320 500 450 895 200 Eagle Nest Guesthouse

Extra charges: service charge – 115

The historic village of Marpha
The historic village of Marpha
When the signposting is clear
The village of Sauru
A damaged suspension bridge. The trail wasn’t in a good condition in this valley.
Hiking down the jeep road, landslides on the left, landslides on the right

Day 15

Hike: Ghasa (2.000 m) – Tatopani (1.200 m) –  Shikha (2.000 m): 22 km

Net hiking time: 6 hours 45 minutes / A break of 1 hour 35 minutes

I wasn’t very excited about the last part of the trek. If I was going to do the whole trek, I was going to have to make an ascent of about 1.600 m. That’s the last thing I wanted to do after 14 days of hiking and especially on the last days of the trek. But I was determined to do the whole circuit. So I had to suck it up one last time and hike up.

I started hiking shortly before 7 am. I thought I would reach the village of Tatopani quickly because I was only going to hike down. I really wanted to hike along a proper hiking trail but I failed to find it. I spent 45 minutes looking for and getting lost. So I gave up especially when the locals failed to help me out. I ended up hiking along the main road. It was anything but enjoyable.

Tatopani was the last village before the daunting ascent to the village of Ghorepani. I had quite a long break before I decide to start hiking up. I knew I wouldn’t make it all the way up in one day so I ended up spending the night in the village of Shikha. The very last night. And it proved to be a great decision. I found a very nice guesthouse where I was the only guest. The owner was super nice and I had a room with the door leading to a terrace. The view was simply stunning. I couldn’t have wished for a nicer place to stay on the very last night in the mountains and for a better way of saying goodbye to the Himalayas. It was a memorable afternoon.

Food price Accommodation
Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner Price Name
265 1126 170 1050 100 Super View Guesthouse

Extra charges: shower – 50

Back to the green scenery at lower altitudes
Herds of goats not only slowed down hikers, but also all the traffic
Stunning scenery on the way up to Ghorepani
A wonderful view on the very last afternoon
Another super cosy room. The last night in the mountains.

Day 16

Hike: Shikha (2.000 m) – Ghorepani (2.850 m) – Ulleri – Birethanti – Nayapul (1.070 m): 25.5 km

Net hiking time: 6 hours 35 minutes / A break of 1 hour 25 minutes

Day 16 was the very last day of hiking. Again, I set out early. Before 7 am. It was foggy in the morning and I didn’t get to see much. I reached Ghorepani in no time. Although I had been hiking for 15 days, I still had fuel in the tank and was hiking quite fast. While going up I could finally get a glimpse of Annapurna I, the highest peak in the range. On the very last day! Yay!

I had quite a long break up in the village spending the time relaxing in a cozy cafe. Amazingly enough, I met a couple from Slovakia there. So we chatted for a bit before they left.

The hike down took longer than I had expected. The kilometres seemed longer and I could’t wait to finish hiking. I reached Nayapul, the last village of the circuit shortly before 3 pm.

Bus ride: Nayapul – Pokhara: 40 km .:. 3 hours .:. 150 rupees

I was happy I didn’t wait for a bus for too long. It arrived shortly after I had come to the bus stop. What I didn’t expect was that the journey to Pokhara, where I was going to stay, would take over 3 hours. I mean it was merely 40 kilometres! Can you imagine? Apart from the road being winding and packed with traffic, what happened was we ended up in a short traffic jam when two buses were litterally jammed and they had to be pushed apart. So narrow was the road.

As if it were not enough, the bus I was on broke down and we had to wait for another bus passing by to take us. The second bus didn’t go to Pokhara downtown and so I had to take a minibus to reach the centre. By the time I reached, it was pouring down rain with the streets having turned into creeks. I reached the hotel, I was going to stay at, soaked, but super happy about my adventure!

Food price Accommodation
Breakfast Lunch Snack Dinner Price Name
350 1126 380
On the last day, I could finally get a glimpse of Annapurna I (it’s the one on the left barely visible in the clouds)

2 Replies to “The Annapurna Circuit Trekking Aleshventure: Over the Thorung La pass”

  1. Wonderful accounts of your trek, Alesh! Thank you so much for sharing this post and the previous one. I am reading now from Pokhara! Nepal says hello and it misses you. Also, it apologizes for all of the rain… hehe! May you be well.

    1. Thank you so much Roxi! I’d go on another hike in Nepal in a heartbeat. I’m so jealous! I hope you are safe there. Take care.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.